The Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) is one of four major ligaments within the knee and connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia). The PCL is better known as the counterpart to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). These two ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connect bones within the knee and cross each other to form an “X” in the center of the knee. A PCL tear, while far less common than an ACL tear, can still occur.

PCL injuries are not as common as ACL injuries but still account for about 20% of knee injuries. PCL injuries occur when there is a blow to the knee or if the knee is bent. Injuring the PCL is often associated with sports such as basketball, skiing, soccer, and football. The injury isn’t usually identified by the injured person hearing or feeling a “popping” sensation, unlike an ACl injury, and in many cases the injured person may believe they only have a minor knee problem and will continue to go about their normal activity. If you believe there might be a tear, it is important to visit a doctor immediately for a correct diagnosis.

Unlike many other knee specific injuries, it is possible for the PCL to heal on its own. However, the injury requires surgery if there is a complete tear in the ligament. A procedure called ligament reconstruction is used to replace the torn PCL with a new ligament, which is usually a graft taken from the hamstring or Achilles tendon from a host cadaver. The new ligament is attached to the bone of the thigh and lower leg with screws to hold it in place.

The rehabilitation for a PCL injury should take longer than that of an ACL injury. For both nonoperative and postoperative rehabilitation, the goal for individuals who are injured is to control the inflammatory phase as quickly as possible. The R.I.C.E. method is highly suggested during this phase (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). Physical therapy is also recommended in the treatment of PCL injuries. A knee brace may also be necessary when the physical therapy is being performed. The patient’s physical therapist should create a plan of quadricep and hip strengthening exercises in order to help them restore their mobility and get back to original strength.

Did you know that you have Direct Access to Physical Therapy? No referral is needed. We offer the best Physical Therapy on Long Island where you can get help from our trusted and expert Physical Therapists. We have several locations on Long Island including Massapequa, Valley Stream, Wantagh and Lindenhurst. To start your Physical Therapy evaluation, call Advance Physical Therapy and The Physical Therapy Alliance at (516) 568-4444.